Wind Farm Turbines - What is Fair Energy Policy?

Splashed across the front page of The Age today is the headline "Baillieu's wind farm crackdown."

The story outlines a stringent set of rules which will be applied to wind farm planning in Victoria.

Here's the crux of it from the Premier Ted Baillieu's website (important bit in bold):

Planning Minister Matthew Guy today announced that the Coalition Government had delivered on another election commitment through his approval of Amendment VC82, which reforms the way wind farms can be approved and prohibits a wind turbine being constructed within two kilometres of an existing dwelling unless there is written consent from the owner of the dwelling.

Coalition restores community’s rights on wind farm planning - Monday, 29 August 2011.

The article, not surprisingly, has generated a fair amount of discussion. Readers of The Age, at least, seem to be split fairly evenly down the line. Here's the results from their on-line poll today:

Wind Farm Poll The Age 

I'm not against communities having the right to decide what large infrastructure goes near their homes. But maybe this policy goes a little far, particularly when compared to the lack of regulation in other areas of energy policy.

In addition to the '2km rule' the following will also apply (from the same media release as above):

All national and state parks will be no-go zones for wind farms, as well as the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, Mornington Peninsula, Bellarine Peninsula, Great Ocean Road region, the Macedon and McHarg Ranges, and the Bass Coast.

Mr Guy said the Coalition Government had also ensured wind farms would not be permitted within five kilometres of regional growth areas, as specified in the Regional Victoria Settlement Framework.

It seems I'm not the only one thinking "what about other energy policy and mining?" Here's a comment from The Age story:

So coal seam gas and miners can go bananas wherever they have a lease, but you can't put up a wind turbine within 2km of somebody who opposes...?

- Comment on The Age website.

For an in-depth analysis of both the coal seam gas industry and claims against wind turbines I'd recommend both of these episodes from Four Corners this year:

- Ryan McCarthy

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